Comprising wards 15 to 21, the newly-created Zone is ready for a much-needed upgrade

This newly carved out zone of the Chennai Corporation offers a surprise in terms of land use. Apart from famed industries of Manali, agricultural lands of Kadapakkam, Theeyambakkam which produce paddy, banana and musk melon too form part of Manali Zone.

Comprising wards 15 to 21, Zone II has a total of 56,864 voters, including 29,113 men and 27,744 women. Several panchayats in remote areas, including Theeyampakkam, Kadapakkam, Sadayankuppam, Edayanchavadi and Vadaperumbakkam, are set to get their infrastructure upgraded and be part of expanded Chennai.

R. Ammu Ravichandran, president of the Theeyambakkam village panchayat, says that in the past they had to bear with insufficient funds for development of infrastructure, but now there would be more funds. “We will get underground drainage, cement roads, sodium vapour lamps. The Kosappur canal, which carries surplus water from the Puzhal lake, overflows during monsoon and residents of Thyagi Viswanathadas Nagar wade in hip deep water. Something needs to be done for them,” he says.

Located 15 km – 20 km from the Government General Hospital, residents of these villages want a major hospital in the neighbourhood. “If there is an accident or if someone needs a surgery we have to travel to the city. We do have small public health centres but they work only during the day,” says G. Kumari, a resident of Sadayankuppam.

The Mathur MMDA and Manali New Town (MNT) have been under the control of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and residents say they are eagerly awaiting the change. “Our respective panchayats have not been taking care of our needs as they don't have the funds. Garbage clearance has also received a beating. We have been paying the CMDA a meagre amount as maintenance fee. We do not have proper connectivity,” S.Kotteeswaran of MNT.

As these panchayats have only primary and middle schools students have to travel to Vadakarai, MNT and Madhavaram to complete their schooling. Kavitha Narayanan, who is contesting in ward 17, said there were no colleges in the vicinity and students had to come to Chennai. “The next generation of residents in our villages would be a happier lot with the Chennai Corporation taking over our areas,” she says.

The Zone also has a truck parking facility at Manjampakkam. “The facility needs further improvement and merger with the Chennai Corporation would definitely help in that,” says G.Thukkaram, a candidate of ward 19.

Kadapakkam shares the pollution woes of Manali. N. Mohankumar, of Kadapakkam Panchayat said groundwater in the area was spoilt by industries in Manali. “Our water is brown in colour,” he said.

Though several industries in the area have caused pollution, most have helped increase land rates. Residents say that rates have been spiralling in urbanised areas including Manali, Manali New Town and Mathur MMDA.

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Deepa H. RamakrishnanJune 28, 2012